From this global pandemic, we can all learn from the negative and positive impacts of what is happening around us, says Swami Pradeep as he offers tips on how a healthy lifestyle can help fight Covid-19
The Coronavirus has created a lot of anxiety and fear in our world. To change the world’s negative view of the coronavirus scare, we should all start working towards cleansing our body and mind.
In this time, one must resurrect the mind from the consciousness of disease—from the thought of disease. The mind must rule the body. Fight your fears. Be brave and strong!
Why does the world require a disaster to unite with each other?
Why don’t we all reach out and help each other when things are favourable and going well in our lives?
Why don’t we all understand the essence of love, truth and forgiveness?
Start introspecting, reflecting and questioning yourself. Are we living life to its fullest? Do we understand ourselves and others? Are we helpful to everyone; to our family, friends, colleagues and fellow human beings?
Sit silently and evaluate your own life. Think of the moments of joy and victory in your life. Think of the moment of sorrow and defeat. Are they permanent? They all come and go. There is nothing permanent in this world. Everything changes except the law of change. Think over it from your own perspective. You have seen all the changes. You have survived all setbacks, all defeats and all sorrows. Nothing remains forever.
In these times, keeping healthy is not all about being physically fit. It is also about our physical, mental and emotional being. Many of us put a lot of emphasize on our outer appearance and disregard our inner nature. But most of us give importance only to the physical part, hence we see the disastrous outcome of disease and ailments around us.
Yoga focuses on the physical, emotional and mental state of well-being. Yoga exercises start with asanas, physical body movement and stretching with focus on breathing, then comes, pranayama—breathing exercise which focuses on mental aspect and finally meditation.
In this current world, “Wealth is Health”.
Tips for a healthy lifestyle
- Eat healthy—organic and fresh food (fruits and vegetables).
- Eat food on time (breakfast before 8am, lunch before 1pm and dinner before 7pm).
- Exercise daily. Simple cardio and breathing exercise for 20- 30 minutes can do more good than harm.
- Sleep on time. Make sure you go to bed before 10pm and wake up by 5 or 6am.
- Embrace and practice good habits—be cheerful, fill one’s heart with love, truth and forgiveness. Pray for everyone, especially your enemies.
- Read and watch positive, good, worthwhile, informative things which can do good to you, your mind and health.
- Use the stairs whenever possible. By walking up and down steps, you increase your stamina and strengthen your leg muscles.
- Drink lot of water at regular intervals. Try not to drink too much water at once, instead drink water at regular intervals.
- Do not sit at one stretch for more than 1-2 hours at your workstation or wherever you may be. Take a walk every 2 hours.
- Avoid harbouring grudges, hatred and jealousy towards anyone. Start to fill your heart with love and forgiveness. Anger is like holding hot coals and expecting the other person to burn.
- Whenever you feel tense, angry or upset, try this simple breathing technique. Sit in a comfortable position ensure that your back is straight not bent and head straight. Slowly inhale through both nostrils (breathing in) and exhale (breathing out), do it in slow and rhythmic way do not strain your body, please do it 5–10 times. You should notice that after a while your body and mind relax.
- Wash your hands frequently. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash them with soap and water. Doing this will kill viruses that may be on your hands.
- Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- If you have a garden at home, plant some simple fruits and vegetables.
- Do not believe and buy into rumours. They can create stress and anxiety. This is dangerous and harmful to your mind, body and emotions. Fear is the worst form of disease
All it takes is a breath
Few breathing exercises to strengthen your body (especially throat and lungs)
- Sit in a kneeling position.
- Keep palms by the side of your knees.
- Lean your body forward and open your mouth and put the tongue out, close your eyes and forcefully blow from the mouth vigorously, this is like pumping air out of your mouth.
- Pump out 10-15 times in one stretch and after few weeks of practice increase the pumps to 30-50 times.
- Through regular practice dog breathing cures sore throat and all throat ailments.
- Sit comfortably with your spine erect. Place your hands on the knees with palms open to the sky.
- Take a deep breath in.
- As you exhale, pull your stomach. Pull your navel in back towards the spine. Do as much as you comfortably can. You may keep your right hand on the stomach to feel the abdominal muscles contract.
- As you relax the navel and abdomen, the breath flows into your lungs automatically.
- Take 20 such pump breaths to complete one round of Kapal Bhati Pranayama.
- After completing the round, relax with your eyes closed and observe the sensations in your body.
- Do two more rounds of Kapal Bhati Pranayama.
- Increases the metabolic rate and aids in weight loss
- Calms and uplifts the mind
For meditation, try the following method which is very easy and simple to practice.
Sit in a comfortable position on the floor on a mat or in the chair. Make sure that your back is straight and not bent and that your head is straight.
Slowly inhale (breathing in) and exhale (breathing out), one inhale and exhale is one cycle or one round, do it in slow and rhythmic way do not strain your body, do it for 10-15 cycles and after which your mind and body becomes so calm and relaxed. You may feel so relaxed that you will feel like sleeping, but do not sleep, just be in a relaxed state and observe your own body, mind and thoughts until you are completely relaxed.
Both inhaling and exhaling should be done at an equal ratio 1:1. e.g. if inhalation is done for 5 seconds then exhalation should also be done for 5 seconds.
After practising this technique, your mind and body will become calm and quiet and then you can start meditation by chanting a mantra (Om) which is the universal mantra. Try to observe your breath, do not try to control your breathing just observe the process until you can feel a slow, steady and smooth breathing. It is natural for the mind to starting thinking. Do not try to resist the thought flow, rather follow your mind, be an observer of your own thought process.
After a period of time, it could be days or weeks (let’s not fix a time frame) the mind settles down with less thoughts and distractions.
The best time to practice meditation is early morning between 3-5am, when the energy level is the most powerful, as it is least polluted, the oxygen level is also high, so practicing meditation at this time is far easier and it soothes our nervous system and body which invariably calms the mind. If you are unable to mediate between 3-5am the next best time is between 4-7pm. For those who want to gain the full benefits of mediation, these are the best times.
Live a healthy happy life.